They’re both too busy for love . . . but love is not too busy for them
Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in Virginia Colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.
Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife.
Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?
Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.
I don’t choose books to read based on their romance potential. Yeah, I’m a weird reader who looks at the plot, and the historical aspects involved. With Tidewater Bride, I knew I could rely on Laura Frantz to write a good story. Tidewater Bride is set in 1634, shortly after recorded massacres of colonists and times of starvation. It’s also a spin on the bride ships trope, in that the bride ships are not the focus of the story.
I keep notes as I read books for review. Part way through reading, I wrote, “It isn’t just a tale of romance, but of life in the colony.” I loved the look at how the colonists lived, what they did, how they worshiped and traded, and of their relationships with the indigenous population (often referred here to as the Naturals). These relationships are tenuous, with the slightest incident being perceived as a possible catalyst for death and destruction. The reality of slavery, and the differences between that and indentured servitude, also plays a role. There’s also an encroaching darkness to the plot, a darkness of atmosphere that comes with heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. What will some of the colonists do to survive?
It turns out I was a little bit wrong on the importance of the romance. Granted, I’m not a fan of romance just for romance’s sake. I do prefer a meaty plot, and don’t often have an opinion on the romance aspect of the novel. But I loved Selah and Xander. I loved that their relationship grew, I loved their conversations, and I loved that we got to see their life together after they got together. I got the impression that Xander was a bit older than Selah. Readers are told at the beginning that she is 26, and it’s later implied that he’s had his tobacco plantation for many years.
I could easily see Tidewater Bride as being the beginning of a grand family saga. Selah has a teenage brother, and there are two younger children heavily involved in the storyline. How might their lives develop as the years went by? One of my favorite books is called London, by Edward Rutherfurd. It follows one family from the city’s ancient beginnings through to the 20th century. I would love to see something similar here. James Towne eventually fell into ruin, especially after the colonial capital was moved to Williamsburg. Would this family have moved with it? I would also love to see Tidewater Bride played out on the big screen, perhaps with Christopher Heyerdahl as Xander. (Find a photo of the actor with hair and you might see what I mean!). Overall, this was a fantastic novel and easily my first five-star book of the year.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 05 January 2020
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including An Uncommon Woman, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. She is a proud mom to an American soldier and a career firefighter. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State. Laura Frantz’s Website https://laurafrantz.net/